cover image Love Begins in Winter

Love Begins in Winter

Simon Van Booy, . . Harper Perennial, $13.99 (226pp) ISBN 978-0-06-166147-1

Van Booy's sentimental second collection deals heavily in the neuroses and personal traumas of his characters. The longish title story follows Brunno Bonnet, an emotionally debilitated cellist with a fondness for stones who encounters Hannah, a bird-obsessed shop owner with a fondness for acorns. In the beautiful “The Missing Statues,” Max, a young diplomat is reduced to tears at the edge of St. Peter's Square in Rome as memories of childhood in seedy Las Vegas overwhelm him. In the excellent “The Coming and Going of Strangers,” a multigenerational story of heroism, tragedy, love and family finds its roots with Walter, a Romany Irish gypsy who falls in love with a Canadian orphan girl. Though Van Booy's tendency to deliver a late-story surprise becomes predictable, each of these stories has moments of sheer loveliness. (May)